Remember the Farrelly Brothers? You know, the guys who seemed to drop off the map after decade-ago classics like There’s Something About Mary and Dumb and Dumber?
And while Hall Pass won’t jump to the head of the class as far as Farrelly Brothers fare goes, it’s perfectly fun and in good keeping with their traditional— well, themes… poop, sex, and raunchy humor (that often involves poop and sex.)
In Hall Pass, schlubs Fred (Jason Sudeikis) and Rick (Owen Wilson) are married to Grace and Maggie (Christina Applegate and Jenna Fischer respectively). We can see from the get-go that these guys are schlubs, because they both part their hair like they did in their fifth grade class photo. They’re also typical guys, in that they (not too subtly) ogle everything even remotely female. As one of the wives puts it, “Driving is a car with you is like riding with a horny bobblehead.”
Finally, after a particularly hilarious and squirm-inducing ‘last straw’, the women throw their hands up, and decide to take a friend’s advice and give their guys a ‘hall pass’– a week off from marriage, so the fellas can sow their wild oats and get it out of their system once and for all… or not, and just realize how lucky they are to be married.
Day one they hit Applebee’s, day two they play golf, and so it goes– all in the name of ‘pacing themselves’. Of course, the more time goes on, the more the guys realize that maybe they’re happy enough with what they had in the first place.
In typical Farrelly Brothers fashion, the laughs come fast and furious (and, for the most part, hit their mark). You’ll find copious amounts of gross-out humor– jokes about ugly chicks, loser guys, and all manner of bodily fluids. And then, in the third act, we get the heartfelt, almost sappy, return to family values.
Sudeikis and Wilson are both perfectly fine, not stretching far at all from the roles they typically play. Likewise with Fischer (who is essentially reprising her role as Pam from The Office) and Applegate, who doesn’t ramp it up quite she did as Anchorman‘s Veronica Corningstone but still has a good amount of fun.
Relative newcomers Derek Waters (who plays a grungy coffeehouse clerk) and Nicky Whelan (to this point only known in Australia as Neighbours‘ Pepper) are both scene-stealers and will look back on Hall Pass as the movie that helped launch their Hollywood careers in earnest. Kudos also to Richard Jenkins for his hilarious, restrained cameo as the ‘playa’ who helps get the guys on track, and to The Office co-creator Stephen Merchant, who is brilliant as a member of the guys’ ultra-lame posse.
The script (the first big-budget attempt by Project Greenlight winner Pete Jones) flops around a little more than it should, but in the end, it fits nicely into the Farrelly Brothers mold.
Hall Pass won’t go on to classic-dom like Mary or Dumb and Dumber, but it does exactly what it sets out to do, and it does it well. Sometimes side-splitting, sometimes stupid, it’s an all-around nice big heaping pile of funny… and a hearty reminder of why we used to like the Farrelly Brothers, back when they actually made movies.
Note: Stay through the credits. There’s an extra scene about half-way through and then another (plus a funny outtake) at the very end.